New Britain Borough
April 8, 2014
The monthly meeting of the New Britain Borough Council was called to order by President Jeffrey Gilmore at 7:30 PM. All council members were present. Also present were Mr. Mark Hintenlang, Ms. Robin Trymbiski, Mr. J. Thomas Yatsky, Ms. Marie Esher Coia, and Solicitor Michael Goodwin. Ms. Mary Pat Holewinski motioned to approve the minutes of the March 11, 2014 council meeting as written; seconded by Ms. Margaret Remmey and approved.
The first guest of the evening was Mr. Ed Wild, representing Greentree Group Contracting, LLC. Mr. Wild had requested to appear before the New Britain Borough Council on a concept plan review and possible future request for zoning change. The properties involved are 21 Bell Lane and 223 North Shady Retreat Road. These properties are zoned R1. There is a residence on 223 North Shady Retreat Road and a 6,500+ square foot manufacturing building and parking lot on 21 Bell Lane. Greentree proposes to demolish both the residence and the manufacturing building and build a cul-de-sac containing 8 residential twin structures (16 units). Mr. Wild feels that the building at 21 Bell Lane could continue to be used as an LI zoning use even though the Borough has an ordinance which negates a nonconforming use after being abandon for a year. The proposed project would require a zoning change from R1 to R2. Mr. Wild referred to his letter dated March 20, 2014, where he explained that “redevelopment of the property is consistent with the Comprehensive Plan. Redevelopment would preserve and improve the residential character of the Borough with a variety of housing types, protect and enhance the features of the Borough, and allow for reasonable growth consistent with the anticipated population increase. Redevelopment would cause no strain on existing Borough infrastructure, including public water or sewer and may likely improve current storm water management conditions.” He also stated that it would generate revenue for the Borough through EIT and property taxes.
Each council member responded with questions and comments, which included buffering from neighbors, public water and sewer, pricing of the units (aiming for the mid $300,000), rental restrictions (student housing ordinance) drainage issues, communication with the neighborhood and if there is any room for green space (community use, playground).
There were several residents in attendance that adjoin or live near to the property being discussed. Ms. Virginia Gruver made a statement representing residents of both Iron Hill and Shady Retreat Roads and gave Council a petition containing 43 signatures opposing the proposed project. The residents opposed the project for reasons ranging from it becoming a neighborhood of college students, to strain on the existing wells in the area. Ms. Gruver also felt there has been poor communication with the neighboring homeowners from the contractor. Ms. Mary Lou Zilli labeled the project “track housing” and an extension of the trailer park. She stated that retention basins do not work and become swamps. She was also concerned with police coverage, stating we “no longer have a police department”. Chief Donnelly addressed her concerns and encouraged her to call 911 when necessary and if she had any complaints about police and coverage to call him directly. One resident added that he understood trying to make the project profitable by building high density dwellings, but was more in favor of single family homes. Ms. Lauren Frasco questioned the size of the cul-de-sac for emergency vehicles (Mr. Hintenlang stated that the area was large enough for emergency vehicles to turn around). Dr. Emerson, adjacent resident to the property is concerned with traffic and storm water. President Gilmore asked New Britain Borough Roadmaster to ask Doylestown Township if a traffic study has been done on that section of road. As a result of the resident’s discussion and comments on poor communication the Borough will be setting up a meeting with Mr. Ed Wild, Greentree and the residents whose names appear on the petition. Mr. Peter LaMontagne motioned to table a decision of support for the project until the above mentioned meeting has been held; seconded by Mr. Joseph Cangelosi and the decision has been tabled.
Correspondence: for the month has been reviewed
March Treasurer’s Report: for the month was reviewed. Treasurer Marie Esher Coia informed Council that the requested Budget information has been posted on the website.
Building, Zoning, Road & Phone/Visitor Reports: for the month were reviewed.
President’s Report: President Gilmore stated the focus of his report this month was congratulations to deserving Council members and staff. He congratulated Ms. Robyne Kelemen on an excellent job of scheduling the defibrillator and CPR class. He felt it was very worthwhile and feels it might be a good idea to organize this on a yearly basis depending on the cost.
He announced that Doylestown Township will be receiving the “Governor’s Award of Excellence” and that he will be attending the presentation.
President Gilmore congratulated Ms. Marie Esher Coia (contributor and Coordinator of the New Britain Borough Newsletter) for entering the Borough Newsletter in the “PSAB Newsletter Award” contest and winning second place.
President Gilmore thanked Robin, Jane and Lori for their continued work on the new Borough website. He was pleased with the design and anxious for its release.
President Gilmore spoke about the interesting talk Mr. John Davis, manager of Doylestown Borough, gave at the BCBA Dinner. He also mentioned that he had spoken to Mr. John Engle of Chalfont about how he, President Gilmore, would like to see the power lines along Butler Avenue be put underground. President Gilmore hopes this will become part of the Borough’s comprehensive plan.
Parks & Recreation: Mr. Derek McMillan came before Council to discuss the Greenways, Trails Grant and the contract with Michael Baker and Associates. Mr. Chris Stanford, project manager for Michael Baker and Associates, attended the Parks & Recreation meeting to discuss the Michael Baker and Associates contract to provide engineering and technical services for the Greenways, Trails Grant. The committee is requesting Council approve the payment of $40,000 in 2014 and $22,500 in 2015. Ms. Mary Pat Holewinski motioned to sign the contract referenced above with two payments ($40,000 in 2014 and $22,500 in 2015); seconded by Mr. Peter LaMontagne and approved. Ms. Mary Pat Holewinski also motioned to approve the request for $200 to build a temporary walkway for residents to get form Covered Bridge Park to Orchard Park; seconded by Mr. Joseph Cangelosi and approved.
The Destination to Peace Valley trail has been marked through Covered Bridge Park. It is expected to be cleared by the end of May and construction will start thereafter.
Administration: Mr. Ted Doran, the Borough’s PECO representative, will be having a reliability engineering team review the area in Hillside Village that has been having trouble with power outages by the end of April.
The volunteer firefighters and EMS are requesting the Borough support legislation allowing municipalities to provide a tax credit towards a volunteers earned income tax and property tax. Ms. Mary Pat Holewinski motioned to send a letter of support; seconded by Ms. Margaret Remmey and approved.
The Chalfont – New Britain Business Alliance is working on having Butler Avenue designated a “Business Route 202”. Ms. Mary Pat Holewinski motioned to have a letter of support written; seconded by Mr. Peter LaMontagne. A short discussion was held which included support of signage for businesses along Butler Avenue and opposition because of increased traffic. Ms. Robyne Kelemen voted nay, the rest of Council was in support and the motioned passed.
Finance: The auditors have completed their work on the Borough finances. They have submitted the required report to the state.
Central Bucks School District has requested an escrow release in the amount of $14,125.00 for the parking lot improvements at Pine Run School. Mr. Hintenlang has reviewed and approved the release. Mr. Peter LaMontagne motioned to approve the escrow release to the Central Bucks School District in the amount of $14,125.00; seconded by Mr. Joseph Cangelosi and approved.
Council continued last month’s discussion on helping the Borough tax collector pay extra administrative costs due to sending amended tax bills to residents. Ms. Robyne Kelemen motioned to pay half of the incurred cost ($445), to encourage the tax collector to come to the borough budget work session and December Council meeting and to have the Borough administration send the tax collector a letter stating the millage rate each year, but making sure it was stated that the responsibility of obtaining the correct millage rate each year lies with the tax collector him or herself; seconded by Ms. Mary Pat Holewinski and approved.
Roads: Mr. Mark Hintenlang reported on the bids for mowing in the Borough. There were four responses to Mr. Hintenlangs letter and the lowest bid was Pod Lanscaping (Borough landscaper for 2013). Mr. Hintenlang will have the contract signed.
Planning Commission: Ms. Mary Pat Holewinski motioned to accept the resignation of Mr. Jack Brady from the New Britain Borough Planning Commission and the appointment of Mr. Tom Price to the New Britain Borough Planning Commission; seconded by Ms. Robyne Kelemen and approved.
Mr. Tom Yatsky reported on the meeting between New Britain Borough and Doylestown Township Planning Commissions, Stephen Barth, Lynn Bush and a representative from Delaware Valley College. They met to discuss working together to help the college grow and expand over the short and long term by creating a village center at Shady Retreat Road and Butler Avenue.
Nature Preserve: Mr. Peter LaMontagne obtained a proposal for an addendum to the Wilma Quinlan Nature Preserve Stewardship Plan from Natural Lands Trust. The addendum will focus on managing invasive plants in the preserve. The total cost of the project is $3,450. Mr. Al Marciante suggested asking “Bird Town” if they do this type of study. Mr. Tom Price will check. The proposal for the addendum from Natural Lands Trust was tabled until next month.
Committee Reports: Ms. Marie Esher Coia reported on the PA Transportation Bill raising the taxes on gasoline. As a result there may be grants available for Main Street projects. The Borough has been asked to write letters to the state representatives to inform them of what the Borough has been proposing for revitalization of the Butler Avenue Corridor and that the Borough would be interested in participating in a grant program. It was suggested to ask Stephen Barth our economic development consultant to draft the letter.
Ms. Marie Esher Coia along with Ms. Lynn Bush and Mr. Stephen Barth attended a meeting about the DVRPC TCDI Grant. This would be a 20% match detailed planning grant to do background studies, market research, and plans for the Butler Avenue corridor. This is a planning grant, not an implementation grant. It was asked if Mr. Barth’s fee, as the economic development consultant, could be covered by the match part of this grant. In order to meet the May 30, 2014 deadline a resolution will be needed at the May council meeting. Ms. Mary Pat Holewinski motioned to have Mr. Stephen Barth write letters to the state representatives expressing the Borough’s interest in the DVRPC TCDI Grant; seconded by Ms. Margaret Remmey and approved. Ms. Marie Esher Coia will be taking a webinar on April 24, 2014 at 12:00 noon titled Neighborhood Revitalization.
Expenditures: Mr. Peter LaMontagne motioned to pay the monthly expenditures; seconded by Ms. Robyne Kelemen and approved.
Old Business: Chief Donnelly reported on the “new police facility”. The proposals are for the revitalization of the existing building in Doylestown Borough or a new building, location to be determined. New Britain Borough, according to the agreement, will be responsible for 50% of the cost. Chief Donnelly informed Council and the audience that if anyone knows of a location in New Britain Borough to please bring that suggestion to the police commission meeting (so far the locations being considered are in Doylestown Borough). The proposed date of completion is not until 2016 or 2017. Mr. Peter LaMontagne stated that it is possible that the Borough will be paying 3/4 of a million dollars and asked if the new building could be located in an area of less expensive real estate. Chief Donnelly informed him that it has to be within one of the two municipalities involved.
New Business: Chief Donnelly gave a brief description of the Public Safety Committee (deals with traffic, study of where it comes from and how to handle the traffic). The Appointment Advisory Committee will look for volunteers. Jeff Gilmore and Robyne Kelemen are interested in being members. The volunteer opportunity will be posted on the website.
There will be a hearing for the Community Development Block Grant on April 22nd at 7:00 in Burkart Hall.
Ms. Mary Pat Holewinski motioned to pass Resolution 2014-4 authorizing participation in the Pennsylvania State Association of Boroughs Junior Council Person Program; seconded by Mr. Peter LaMontagne and approved.
Ms. Mary Pat Holewinski motioned to approve the sign for Burkart Hall; seconded by Ms. Margaret Remmey and approved. McElhaney Signs will be reconditioning and changing the name on the old Borough Hall sign for $580.
Resident’s Remarks: Mr. Al Marciante alerted Council of a stranger walking around private properties on Mathews Avenue. It turned out to be a surveyor. The man had no identification and did not act in a cooperative manner when asked what he was doing in the neighborhood.
Ms. Lauren Frasco complained about the plowing of Iron Hill Road. She feels they are one of the last streets done and that the plow does not get close enough to the mailboxes so that residents have to dig out there mailboxes in order to get delivery. Mr. Hintenlang will coordinate with the plowing company next season.
There was a complaint that the Intelligencer is referring to Burkart Hall as Borough Hall.
Ms. Mary Pat Holewinski motioned to adjourn; seconded by Ms. Robyne Kelemen and the meeting ended at 10:00 PM.
Council went into executive session immediately following the Council meeting to discuss litigation and personnel. Council reconvened and voted on three personnel matters. Mr. Peter LaMontagne motioned no to increase the non-uniform pention multiplier from .5% to 1%; seconded by Ms. Margarert Remmey and the increase was denied. Ms. Mary Pat Holewinski motioned to advertise an Ordinance for the contract of the Borough Manager; seconded by Ms. Robyne Kelemen and approved. Ms. Margaret Remmey motioned to approve the borough manager job description with a change to the hiring requirements to include management experience (and or) with the academic requirements listed; seconded by Ms. Mary Pat Holewinski and approved. Ms. Mary Pat Holewinski motioned to adjourn; seconded by Ms. Robyne Kelemen and the meeting ended at 10:37 PM.